By Keira Stephenson Monday 6 August 2018, 10:37 AM
An Edwardian building on Waimate’s main street makes way for a new development.
After 10 years working in a building constructed the same year she was born, Waimate Medical Centre owner, GP Sarah Creegan, was ecstatic when the opportunity arose to move into a brand new $2 million one.
Dr Creegan says her current building, purpose built in 1961, has good-sized rooms, but limited usefulness for today’s practising style.
Her new premises will be in a new building in Waimate which replaces a 99-year-old Edwardian building on the town’s main street. Demolition began in June and the developers, Waimate Property Holdings, are committed to the façade remaining in keeping with its predecessor’s Edwardian style.
Having been involved in the new building’s design and lay out from the outset has helped create a happy, healthy, comfort able space to work in, that also offers privacy, Dr Creegan says.
Even the basics of improved soundproofing, heating and lighting in the new building will help.
But what is really exciting is having the local pharmacy under the same roof, she says.
Practice and pharmacy will share a very generous staffroom, which Dr Creegan envisages leading to better personal and professional relationships and more collaboration.
She says South Canterbury DHB is enthusiastic about the possibilities her new site offers.
All six consult rooms are video-conference enabled, which could save many unwell patients from their sometimes weekly trips to Timaru Hospital, 45km away.
Part of the therapeutic aspect of an appointment is actually leaving the house to come to a place that carries the mana of a health clinic, Dr Creegan believes. If patients can have that in their own town with a GP, practice nurse, house officer or even a trainee doctor with them taking notes, all the better. Having patient, specialist and primary care staff all together is true integration, she says.
“The DHB is happy we can deliver care in a way that’s more convenient to the patient.”
Another advantage of the new building is the ambulance bay with its own covered entrance, so that ill patients who may be bleeding, vomiting or on the verge of giving birth, don’t have to go through the waiting room.
Having worked as a solo GP – always with two or three practice nurses on at any one time – the recent addition of former Oamaru Hospital doctor David Shin has been fantastic, says Dr Creegan.
More space, including the six consult rooms, means she will also be able to take on more students.
Asked about further plans, Dr Creegan says she has always loved being a doctor and always had fun. “My business plan is to keep on having fun in my new building.”
The building is expected to be finished by year’s end, allow ing staff the luxury of moving in over the quiet January period next year.